According to sources, nearly 70,000 birds including geese, gulls and starlings have been killed over the last eight years in New York City since the 2009 aircraft accident where a plane made an emergency landing in the Hudson River after birds got sucked into its engine. Although all 155 passengers on board were rescued unharmed, concerns were raised regarding the safety of the airports as bird strikes were perceived as a major problem. Since the time when Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was forced to land his plane in the river, a program was introduced to slaughter all these birds through trapping and shooting to keep the routes safe for air crafts. However, unfortunately, it is not entirely clear if the program has made the skies safer.
According to a report, the federal data indicates that following the bird-killing at Newark and LaGuardia Airport, the number of bird strikes have actually increased. The report shows that on an average, around 158 bird strikes were annually recorded for five years before the 2009 accident took place. And since 2009, there were about 299 bird strikes recorded annually for the next six years. However, the numbers might have gone up due to relatively more diligent recording of such incidents.
Kennedy Airport is one of the routes for the migrating birds and in order to ensure flight safety, the authority introduced a highly robust bird-killing program before the crash of flight 1549. Since the killing was reduced slightly, the number of bird strikes went up.
According to Jeffery Kramer, a member of the GooseWatch NYC, the authority needs to come up with a sustainable solution to the problem without running such extensive bird killing programs. He suggested that introducing upgraded radar systems can be a solution to identify the flocks that can be problematic.
Officials who are directly involved with the bird killing program have claimed the initiative to be a success as no major accident has taken place since 2009 after the program was first initiated in New York.